Before you start a search for your birth relative, do consider seeking support from the agency that arranged your adoption (Appropriate Adoption Agency, or AAA) or an adoption support agency (ASA). It is important to be clear about why you want to make contact with your birth relatives, as well as the impact of doing so on others. It’s also worth reading about other people’s experiences of contacting their birth relatives.

The Adoption Search and Reunion website was launched in 2006 to provide information for adopted people, birth relatives and adoptive parents, and for agencies, professionals and volunteers who provide services for adopted people and their birth and adoptive relatives. The information available on the website applies to adoptions that were made before 30 December 2005, but may also be of use to people adopted on or after 30 December 2005. Please note that the ASR website is no longer regularly updated.

If you were adopted on or after 30 December 2005

  • You can search the Adoption Contact Register (run by the General Register Office). This is a website where you can find out if someone wants to be contacted or not. Both adults adopted as children and birth relatives can sign-up to the register. Only people who have signed-up will appear on the register, so there is a chance that your birth relatives may not be on it.
  • You can use public records to search for birth relatives via the General Register Office (the government office that holds records of peoples’ official documents).
  • You can search the birth, marriage and death indexes to see whether or not your birth relative married, had children, and is still alive.

If you were adopted before 30 December 2005

You can use an intermediary agency to help you trace a birth relative if you were adopted or you’re related to someone who has been adopted. The fee for the service depends on the agency. Your AAA can give you more information on intermediary agencies.